Dr. Hain's Rants/Raves has helpful information about things
that Dr. Hain has discovered by trial and error.
Nonlinear Video Editors for making "Eye-Movement" videos.
The world has changed drastically over the last 10 years and now everybody (or at least their kids) are making movies to go on Youtube, etc. So, producing tiny little educational videos should be easier. Nonlinear video editors (NLVE) are the "word processors" of video editing. If you goggle "nonlinear video editor" you will get many many options. Here I discuss what I have learned about all of these programs, as of Jan, 2014.
You might think after reading this list that there are no NLVE suitable for making eye videos. So far, what I have learned that almost every NL editor crashes at least occasionally, and most crash routinely. Almost all produces output different than the documentation would suggest, or is just useless. It is a jungle out there. A bunch of amateurs I guess.
After many days of struggling with these programs, I have think the best solution is to use Cyberlink Video Director to mask out unneeded stuff, add titles, and write it out to whatever format you prefer.
The following is arranged alphabetically, but we think "Cyberlink" is the best choice.
Adobe Premiere Elements -- useless for "eye" videos.
Bottom line -- don't use Adobe Premiere Elements for editing "eye" videos-- too many bugs. Perhaps it works better for other purposes. We find it hard to imagine this however given the lack of usability.
- Premiere I purchased after several other video editors crashed or were just so sad. Premiere didn't crash as quickly, so I figured. Premiere though a little more polished, is hard to use and doesn't do some very simple things very well (like crop and resize). When one applies the "crop" effect, what you see on the preview is not necessarily what you get as output. In other words, it is a "trial and try again" type program. The same goes for the "matte" effect. What you see is not at all what you get in the output. For this reason, Premiere elements is useless for "eye videos"
- Premiere Elements crashed over and over when I attempted to import a DVD. This is a task that the "Aimersoft DVD ripper" program did with no issues at all. Premiere Elements was also unable to produce an output video from an avi file produced by virtualdub. It loaded it, it scrubbed through it, but nothing came out useful.
- Before buying Premiere Elements, I attempted to use a "CS3" version of the "real" Premiere. This was hopeless - -the video drivers from just a few years ago don't work on CS3. I guess it shows you should not waste your money on these expensive programs as they become obsolete in just a year or two -- money down the drain.
- Adobe Premiere elements has an odd output menu. It doesn't produce avi files or wmv files -- no options. The output codec has almost no flexibilty. It does not produce wmv or avi files. It produces mpg files only, that run erratically.
- Overall, Premiere Elements 12 is not "ready for prime time". We do not think applications should experience "app-hangs", when doing their core task (loading media).
Aimersoft family of programs -- reasonable utilities with some problems.
Aimersoft has the sales strategy of divide and conquer -- it offers many little utility programs, each one sold for about $40. Once you add everything up, it costs as much as a single comprehensive package, but perhaps you don't need/want a single comprehensive package. We have a separate page on aimersoft.
IVSedit 2013 -- broken.
After a somewhat involved registration process (harvesting email I suppose), an endless download begins. This is not that big a program, but it takes forever.
While not quite "dead on arrival", IVSedit 2013 free edition is completely useless. It will not import video clips. Uninstalled.
Corel VideoStudio Pro -- broken
Corel cannot be downloaded. It "hangs up" when one attempts to download.
Cyberlink Video Director -- current best NL video editor for making clinical movies
- As of 2016, Cyberlink just keeps getting better. It now (as of 2016) will actually produce decent quality output with a high frame rate.
- This one can be downloaded. It takes a while to install -- it is gigantic -- about a gigabyte.
- It also "hung" on importing from a DVD. The same VOB file that Adobe Premeire elements crashed. Neverthless, Cyberlink is very generally very stable.
- The huge annoying thing with Cyberlink is that it is cluttered with a gigantic number of awful "effects" that cannot be deleted. It is best not to download any of their free "packs". They are free for a reason -- nobody wants them.
- Cyberlink does not do cropping-- it keeps the same aspect ratio, so "cropping" becomes resizing. You can do masking.
- Cyberlink does write many more file formats than does Premiere elements. This is crucial in usability.
- Cyberlink trial puts out an green thing on top of the trial. But at least it has a trial.
Lightworks trial -- it works but has poor quality (perhaps suitable for children) output.
- Lightworks doesn't crash. It is not "intuitive".
- The output for the "free" version is choppy -- and not usable for eye videos.
- Lightworks starts up "wrong" in almost every way, but it can be configured so that it works (sort of).
- It does write avi files.
- It may be that the paid version works better. We didn't investigate.
NCH videopad -- crashes.
NCH is very simple, but it is buggy and crashes when one tries to write output. The input side and the edit parts work. Just needs to do the output transcoding better. It has promise but needs more work. Uninstalled.
Nero video editor -- crude
I tried this for a few minutes and then uninstalled. Nero doesn't really seem "done". It takes about 10 minutes to download and 5 minutes to install on a SSD (in other words -- installation is painful). Nero also attempts to install a browser redirector (shame !). Once it is downloaded --the process seems crude. Titling is complicated and strange.
Sony Movie Studio Platinum 13 trial and Vegas -- overly complex.
- Clearly more sophisticated than Premiere and possibly Cyberlink, SMSP did not crash on importing the DVD that crashed both Premiere and Cyberlink. However, after about 2 minutes of processing, it just refused to proceed. Not much difference, but a little more polite. There is a silly "registration" task that slows things down.
- Vegas looks identical to Sony Movie Studio Platinum. It must do more, but the interface is so dense that it is useless to a casual user like me.
- Additionally, SMSP's it's idea of "crop" is actually a resize (like many other programs discussed here). It has far too many "fx" effects (who cares), and far too few basic useful actions.
- Uninstalled both.
Ulead Movie Factory 4.0 -- doesn't work
Ulead Movie Factory produces reproducibly produces an error message when attempting to import DVD's made by my Panasonic DVR. This is in direct contradiction to the package. This program simply doesn't work. We have not checked newer versions
VirtualDub -- obsolete.
Virtualdub and several companion programs -- avisynth and substation alpha, are extremely fast "open source" video editing programs. Although a bit buggy from time to time, they will generally suffice for making educational video clips. They are also far less demanding on your computer -- commercial "nonlinear editors" take major hardware and software. Virtualdub will run on nearly anything, lightning fast.
- First, download and install virtualdub (and subtitler plugin), avisynth, and substation alpha. You might also want DVD-decryptor, although the motion picture industry attempted to make it unavailable.
- To produce a clip, open an "avi" file. Virtualdub is an avi file editor. If all you have is a "wmv" file, then you can open it using a directshow in an avisynth script file. This is a little complicated, but not that bad.
- Select the parts you want using the start/stop markers at the bottom.
- Go to the video window, and add a filter (almost anyone will do). Contrast is good. Then crop your video to the size you want.
- Decide if you want audio. It is faster to turn it off.
- Decide if you want a subtitle. If you do, use SSA to create a subtitle, and then add the subtitler filter.
- Finally, decide what compression, if any. I mainly use cinepack Radius, but recently have been switching to ffdshow (which produces much larger files), because it can be read by Cyber-link video director.
- Go to the file save menu, and "save as avi". (unfortunately, no option to save as wmv).
Recently Microsoft Powerpoint has been "improved" so that it no longer plays AVI files. Because of this, to use virtualdub, one has to convert them into wmv using another program. A pain !
Another general observation is that nonlinear editing of video is HARD. Almost all of the programs that I have seen outside of virtualdub/avisynth are very buggy.
The following commentary details my experiences using various programs. It was an appalling in terms of time wasted, as most of these programs are broken or written for other groups (i.e. professional editors).
In the end, I decided cyberlink video-director was the best (as of 2014).
November 12, 2016
, Timothy C. Hain, M.D.
All rights reserved.